Italy’s government reaches deal on trial time constraints
NNN: Italy’s ruling coalition on Thursday reached a deal over removing time constraints on the prosecution of numerous crimes, including corruption, defusing a row that had threatened the stability of the government.
The dispute over the so-called statute of limitations was the most serious so far to rattle the coalition, which took office in June promising to bring radical change to Italy.
Time limits for prosecutions has been at the centre of fierce political debate for years, with magistrates saying it is all but impossible to reach a definitive verdict for a multitude of financial crimes within the prescribed time frame.
Report says the ruling 5-Star Movement, which has made battling graft a priority, wants to remove many of the limits as soon as possible.
Its coalition partner, the League, has previously resisted change, saying it would leave too many defendants facing years of legal uncertainty.
Under the terms of Thursday’s accord, the statute will be relaxed by parliament this year but the change will only come into force in 2020 when a broad legal reform is enacted.
“The statute of limitations is a bitter poison to swallow.
“Every case that is curtailed is justice denied. Now, finally this is coming to end,” 5-Star leader Luigi Di Maio wrote on Facebook.
In a newspaper interview published on Thursday, Di Maio had warned the coalition would collapse if the League had refused to endorse the overhaul of time restrictions.
Italy’s justice system has long been one of the most dysfunctional in Europe, with a backlog of an estimated eight million cases gumming up the law courts.
Edited by: Abiodun Oluleye/Donald Ugwu
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